Wawasee students will not pilot test questions for next year’s ISTEP+ test, school officials announced Tuesday.
Wawasee Community School officials held a special school board meeting to reject administering ISTEP+ pilot questions. The Department of Education ask schools to give students the un-scored questions to help the vendor sharpen the test. Wawasee school officials say they didn’t want to give the students those questions on top of the scored test.
“We need all the class time that we can get at Wawasee to educate our students, not take tests,” says Tom Edington, Wawasee Community Schools superintendent. “When we read the statutes having to do with statewide testing, and found that our pilot was not a statewide assessment, we respectfully declined to administer those to our students.”
Every year, Indiana students take ISTEP+ exams during two spring testing windows. Once at the beginning of March and again at the end of April into May.
Edington says Wawasee uses separate tests to give teachers feedback on student progress. He says that ISTEP+’s only purpose in Wawasee is to allow state officials to rate the school district.
“As I sit here and look across the state, I would hope that no one, none of those one million school students in public schools in the state of Indiana, would spend their time doing test questions for a vendor paid by the state,” Edington says.
The move in Wawasee comes less than a week after the Ft. Wayne Community School board also refused to pilot test questions.
In an email, Indiana Department of Education spokesperson Samantha Hart says the department understands both Wawasee and Ft. Wayne’s concerns.
“This is another reason why Superintendent Ritz believes we need to get away from ISTEP and its expensive, high-stakes pass/fail approach,” Hart says.